On November 15-17, 2019, the national meeting of the Secular Franciscan Order (OFS) and the Franciscan Youth (YouFra) took place at the Alvernia Retreat Center in San Francisco de Mostazal, Chile.

110 confreres participated in the meeting, led by the OFS National Minister, William TAPIA and his Council, together with the National Spiritual Assistants, Friar Héctor Tito VALDÉS, OFM Cap., and Friar Jack GINTING, OFM Conv. At the same time, the National Spiritual Assistant representing the Friars Minor, Friar Raul ALLIMANT OFM, was participating in the formation week for OFS Spiritual Assistants held at the Seraphicum in Rome.
During the day, the National OFS formator, María Balsamina PÉREZ, talked about the importance of formation and the sense of belonging to the Order within its fraternities. Friar Jack GINTING addressed the theme of discernment using St. Francis’ Prayer before the Crucifix of San Damiano. Friar Víctor Hugo JARA, OFM, spoke about vocation; and finally, Friar Felipe MÁRQUEZ, OFM, and Nicol RUÍZ PARADA made a joint presentation on the status of YouFra in Chile, and on the Handbook for Spiritual Assistants to Franciscan Youth.
This was a wonderful meeting carried out in a fraternal spirit and characterized by moments of very colorful prayer and fraternal discussions. The meeting’s slogan was “Living and Feeling the Fraternal Embrace”. In their homilies, the Ministers Provincial Friar Miguel Ángel ARIAS, OFM Cap., and Friar Isauro COVILLO, OFM, highlighted the importance of dialogue and attentive listening in one’s encounter with others. In addition, they commemorated the 800th anniversary of the meeting between St. Francis of Assisi and Sultan Malik al-Kamil, as well as the feast of St. Elizabeth of Hungary which falls on November 17.
After lunch on November 17, the participants said goodbye to each other and returned to their respective cities and fraternities, happy to have spent this time together and blessing God for the gift of brothers.

Friar Jack GINTING